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Turkey blocked access to YouTube on Thursday, escalating its efforts to ensure locals can’t watch videos that government officials would prefer they not see.
Turkey made an “administrative decision” to block access to YouTube, presumably after Google lawyers declined to remove some users’ videos. The offending videos allegedly show Turkey’s foreign minister, a spy chief and a general discussing possible military operations in Syria, according to published reports.
A Google spokeswoman wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan ordered government officials to block access to Twitter after users began spreading links to audio clips that suggested Erdogan and his allies were engaging in corrupt schemes ahead of a local election. Locals tried to get around the ban by using services that could help mask their locations.
Twitter has fought the ban and yesterday filed a series of challenges to court orders that allowed the microblogging service to be blocked in Turkey.
This isn’t the first time Turkey has banned YouTube. Google’s video service couldn’t be reached for two years inside the country because of videos the government considering insulting to the country’s founder. Turkey lifted that ban in 2010 after those videos were removed from the site.
Update: Local reports suggest that many Turkish citizens are still getting on the video site. YouTube stats for the country indicate that those videos have been getting a lot of page views (or, at least more than Shakira’s most recent music video).
Not all of the DNS numbers have been blocked, according to New Hampshire-based Renesys, an Internet intelligence firm. That’s why some people in Turkey are reporting that they’re still able to get on YouTube, a Renesys spokesman said.
The government’s YouTube-blocking efforts were similar to what it did last week with Twitter, when officials simply shut down access to some DNS numbers. Many users in Turkey were quickly able to find ways to get around that blockage.
The situation in Turkey continues to capture the interest of many in social media circles. Social media analytics company Brandwatch said this morning that they’ve seen a more than 3,000 percent increase in Twitter posts mentioning both Turkey and YouTube since yesterday.
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